Year C Easter 5 John 13
Love One Another
John 13:31-35

A junior high music teacher had just organized a band in her school. The principal was so proud of the music teacher's efforts that without consulting her he decided that the band should give a concert for the entire school. The music teacher wasn't so sure her young musicians were ready to give a concert, so she tried to talk the principal out of holding the concert, to no avail. Just before the concert was ready to begin, as the music teacher stood on the podium, she leaned forward and whispered to her nervous musicians, "If you're not sure of your part, just pretend to play." And with that, she stepped back, lifted her baton and with a great flourish brought it down. Lo and behold, nothing happened! The band brought forth a resounding silence.

Sometimes we in the church are like that junior high band, unsure of our parts, tentative in our roles, reluctant to trumpet forth the music of faith that God desires of us. And that's because we have trouble deciding what's most important.

An incident a couple of summers ago in San Antonio, Texas, illustrates what I'm talking about. It was a hot, 99-degree August day when a ten-month-old baby girl was accidentally locked in a parked car by her aunt. Frantically the mother and the aunt ran around the auto in near hysteria, while a neighbor attempted to unlock the car with a clothes hanger. The infant was bawling at the top of its lungs, beginning to turn purple and foam from the mouth, a combination of anxiety and the intense heat inside the car.

It had quickly become a life-and-death situation when Fred Arriola, a tow-truck driver, arrived on the scene. He grabbed a hammer from his truck and smashed the back side window of the car to free the baby. Was he heralded a hero? Not so. According to an article in the San Antonio Tribune, he is quoted as saying, "The lady was mad at me because I broke the window. I just thought, 'What's more important -- a baby or a window?' "

Most of the choices we make in life are not between what is trivial and what is important. Rather, most of the choices we make are usually between what is important and what is more important. This morning's Gospel reading is so timely for us because it shows us what is most important.

  1. The Greatest Blessing We Have is God's Love
  2. Our Love in Action
  3. May God Help Us Love

Time to Get Wet
Revelation 21:1-6

The governor of Washington state just signed a new series of "sin taxes" into effect. The items being taxed include the usual suspects: tobacco products and beer (though NOT beer produced by micro-breweries). But there is a new sinful category: you can now add "snack food" to the roster of iniquity.

But the most anticipated money raiser for the state is the "sin tax" on -- are you ready for this? -- bottled water. From now on if you want to indulge in guzzling a bottle of H2O, it’s going to cost you. Just over the state line in Idaho, eager shop owners are creating water bottle pyramids next to their cartons of Camels, anticipating a stream of thirsty Washingtonians.

Every savvy entrepreneur knows that water is a sure fire way to attract people. Is there any mall in America that doesn’t have a fountain or a pool full of pennies in it somewhere? Hotel lobbies, office complexes, libraries, county courthouses, all spurt water, inviting people in and making them feel welcome. Can you find a doctor's office nowadays without an aquarium?

Human beings crave closeness to water. That's why most of the earth's population hugs the shorelines of its continents. Maybe it is because we are made almost entirely of water. Maybe it is because we started our life in water, living in it and breathing it for our first nine months of life. Maybe it is because almost none of us get the recommended daily 60-70 ounces of water we need to be optimally hydrated, so that whether we recognize it or not, our bodies are constantly thirsty.

Water is life. Disney's Earth Day release of "Oceans," a 103 minute special breathtaking in every way, reminded us that we live on the only blue planet in the galaxy and it is that azure which animates us. Is it any wonder then that, in this week’s text from Revelation when John receives his vision of "the new heaven and the new earth," the first thing God does is to offer water to all who are thirsty? And because this is the beginning of a new creation, a new living relationship, whole and healed, between all the peoples of the world and God, this can only be called "living water."

Living water comes freely and fully from God... presents Leonard Sweet